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How to Shrink a Hat

Dec. 31, 2019

Is your favorite baseball cap feeling a little too loose? Can you shrink a hat? Whether it's been stretched out through everyday wear or it's always been too big (but you love it anyway), there's no reason to let it go. With a little know-how, you can easily size down your hat for the perfect fit.


If you have a polyester hat, putting it in the washing machine and dryer can shrink it. That said, unlike cotton and other natural fibers, polyester is a synthetic material that can be more resistant to shrinking. As such, the key to shrinking a polyester baseball cap is heat — that means hot water and hot air. Read on for step-by-step instructions to shrink a polyester hat and then decide which method is best for you.

How to shrink a polyester hat

Step 1

Soak the hat in the sink. Use warm water like you would to do the dishes. Wash the hat by hand with a pinch of laundry detergent. Any brand you normally use for the rest of your wardrobe will work. Remove the hat from the water and shake off the excess water after about five minutes soaking.


Step 2

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees


Step 3

Boil water in a pot large enough to fully submerge the hat.


Step 4

Dunk the hat in a rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Leave the lid off the pot. Remove the hat with a pair of tongs. Shake the hat over the sink until it is no longer soaked but still damp.


Step 5

Preheat the oven as you prepare the hat. Line a baking tray with paper towels, then set the hat on top of them. Once the oven heats up, move the tray into it.
Be careful when putting a hat in the oven. Using a higher heat setting can cause the hat to melt. Also, if you don't use paper towels, the bottom part of the hat will scorch and turn an unpleasant brown color.


Step 6

Run the hat through the dishwasher if it needs to shrink more. Place it on the top rack and do not fill the soap reservoir. Use the standard dish setting and run the hat through the full cycle to let the hot drying process work on the polyester.


Step 7

Dry the hat in the sun.

Does polyester shrink?

Some fitted hats are made from polyester instead of wool or cotton. Will polyester shrink? Unfortunately, polyester does not shrink unless subjected to extremely high heat, which can damage hats. Steaming and drying the crown repeatedly or soaking it in hot water may have some effect. Heat exposure may also do nothing. Some polyester fabrics have already been preshrunk in high heat scenarios, and will not respond at all to further heat shrinking methods. You may be stuck with the hat size you have.

How to shrink a wool hat or a cotton hat

Wool and cotton fibers shrink naturally when wet and dried and conform to whatever shape they're given.

Small size changing

  1. step 1. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and spritz the inside headband, back panel and side panel to dampen it. But don't soak them.

  2. step 2. Wear the hat outdoors, in the sun, until it dries completely, or direct a hair dryer on a medium setting toward the wet areas.

  3. step 3. Repeat dampening and heating the cap a few times as needed. You may need to repeat the treatment 3 or 4 times before the hat reaches the size you need.

Big size changing

  1. step 1. Dampen the inside of the crown of the hat with a garment steamer or the steam from a pot of boiling water.

  2. step 2. Dry the crown with a hair dryer. Repeat as many times as is necessary to shrink the hat.

  3. step 3. If your hat has a elastic band closure, then soak the elastic band for 10 minutes. Fill the sink with a little bit of water, enough to cover the band but not the rest of the hat. Use water as hot as you can get from the tap. Then, set the hat in the sink, making sure the elastic band or sweatband around the brim is submerged. Dry the elastic band closure with a hair dryer. This is a very important step of how to shrink a new era flexfit hat .

How to shrink a flexfit hat or a fitted hat

Flexfit hat or fitted hat is designed to be one-size-fits-most, but it doesn't always work out that way. If you have a Flexfit cap that is a little too big, you may be able to shrink it to fit your head perfectly. This approach works for most Flexfit hats, but since Flexfit uses different material blends for different styles of hats, it won't work on all of them. So how can I make my fitted hat tighter? Let's explore it.

  1. step 1. Look at the tag inside the hat. Most Flexfit hats are made from a blend of cotton and Spandex, but some are made from a blend of polyester and Spandex. Cotton blend hats can be made smaller, but unfortunately, polyester blend hats is hard to do. If your Flexfit hat is made mostly of polyester, a better approach would be to see if the same style is available in a smaller size.


  2. step 2. Fill a clean sink with hot water.


  3. step 3. Hold the hat by the brim and dip the hat in the water. Do not get the brim wet, just the top of the hat. Hold the top of the hat under water for about five minutes. Lift the hat out of the water and let the excess water drip off.


  4. step 4. Drape a towel over your shoulders and the back of your neck. Place the hot, wet hat on your head. Wait for the hat to completely air dry or, if you'd rather not wait that long, dry it on your head using a hair dryer.


  5. step 5. Repeat the entire process as necessary, as the hat will shrink a little more each time. Just be sure that the hat has completely dried before repeating the process.

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